The inconsistent response to transcranial electric stimulation in the stroke population is attributed to, among other factors, unknown effects of stroke lesion conductivity on stimulation strength at the targeted brain areas. Volume conduction models are promising tools to determine optimal stimulation settings. However, stroke lesion conductivity is often not considered in these models as a source of inter-subject variability. The goal of this study is to propose a method that combines MRI, EEG, and transcranial stimulation to estimate the conductivity of cortical stroke lesions experimentally. In this simulation study, lesion conductivity was estimated from scalp potentials during transcranial electric stimulation in 12 chronic stroke patients. To do so, first, we determined the stimulation configuration where scalp potentials are maximally affected by the lesion. Then, we calculated scalp potentials in a model with a fixed lesion conductivity and a model with a randomly assigned conductivity. To estimate the lesion conductivity, we minimized the error between the two models by varying the conductivity in the second model. Finally, to reflect realistic experimental conditions, we test the effect rotation of measurement electrode orientation and the effect of the number of electrodes used. We found that the algorithm converged to the correct lesion conductivity value when noise on the electrode positions was absent for all lesions. Conductivity estimation error was below 5% with realistic electrode coregistration errors of 0.1° for lesions larger than 50 ml. Higher lesion conductivities and lesion volumes were associated with smaller estimation errors. In conclusion, this method can experimentally estimate stroke lesion conductivity, improving the accuracy of volume conductor models of stroke patients and potentially leading to more effective transcranial electric stimulation configurations for this population.
- conductivity measurement
- stroke lesion